Timor-Leste organizes a presidential run-off | NHK WORLD-JAPAN News

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In Timor-Leste, formerly known as East Timor, voters vote in a presidential runoff on Tuesday.

The second round takes place because none of the 16 candidates obtained the majority necessary to win the presidential election on March 19.

Face to face on Tuesday, former President Jose Ramos-Horta, who obtained 46.6% of the vote on March 19, and President Francisco Guterres Lu Olo, who obtained 22.1%.

Timor-Leste gained independence in May 2002 after being controlled by Portugal and Indonesia. Ramos-Horta was a leader of the country’s independence movement and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.

It is said that about 30 percent of the population lives in poverty. Economic revitalization, including the promotion of industry and job creation, is the main issue of the election campaign.

Infrastructure development in populated rural areas is lagging behind. A 22-year-old woman from the southeastern district of Viqueque said her house had been without water for a week. She hopes the new president will improve maintenance of the water supply and roads.

In the campaign, Ramos-Horta pushed for the country to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and invite foreign investment. Lu Olo stressed that he would advance rural development by focusing on agriculture and tourism.

The counting of votes will begin on Tuesday after the polls close at 3 p.m. local time. The preliminary result is expected in a few days.

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